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Police: Man with a drone found at Winnona Park Elementary playground

Crime and public safety Decatur

Police: Man with a drone found at Winnona Park Elementary playground

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Photo by Dan Whisenhunt


This story has been updated. 

The Decatur Police Department responded to an incident that occurred at Winnona Park Elementary on April 17.

According to Police, on April 17 at around 10:24 a.m., a school resource officer went to Winnona Park Elementary after getting a call about an unknown man talking to children on the playground. A teacher brought her class to the playground and noticed a man sleeping on the playground equipment. He woke up and began talking to the students.

“The male attempted to hand the children a package (later determined to be drone),” the police report says. “The staff member intervened and spoke to the male and directed the students to return to the school building. The male stated he was not a thief and made other repetitive, incoherent statements then left the property and walked into the wooded area adjacent to the playground. Officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate the male.”

Police described the individual as a white man, late 20’s-early 30’s, approximately 5’10” and 180 lbs, medium build, wearing a black shirt and black pants, with large gauge plug style earrings and carrying a black backpack, a skateboard and a clear plastic bag.

School officials sent an email to parents notifying them about the incident.

“The safety of our students is our number one priority and this incident serves as a reminder for students and staff to practice safety measures while on the school playground and while playing in the neighborhood,” Principal Ruth Scott said in the email.

Police Lt. Jennifer Ross clarified that the location is not considered public property, it is considered school property. If police had located him, he would’ve likely been given a warning, she said.

“Had the man been located, the officer would have explained that he was on school property and given him a criminal trespass warning,” Ross said. “Based on the interactions the teacher described, the man could have been dealing with a mental health or substance use issue in which case the officer could have gone another route once assessing the situation and determining what resources the man needed. Had the man been issued a criminal trespass warning and refused to leave or returned, he could have been arrested for criminal trespass. However, we try not to arrest for minor offenses when explanations, providing resources or a courtesy transport will suffice.”

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